Ian Hart: What point did Tony Bloom decide Brighton needed to change manager?

Chris Hughton
Chris Hughton

So the question is now, at what point did Albion chairman Tony Bloom decide that he had to change the manager?

Was it the sustained period of 12-and-a-half hours without a goal? Was it three successive home defeats against Southampton (0-1), Bournemouth (0-5) or Cardiff City (0-2)?

And as a result of these potentially dropped nine points did the real threat of relegation to the Championship became more than just a possibility?

Another factor, within 30 minutes of the final whistle against Cardiff, it was reported that all of the respective lounges at the Amex were all but empty. People voting with their feet? Sunday’s final game against Man City, while the Albion started brightly and opened the scoring, the gulf between the two sides became clearly apparent.

Don’t get me wrong, as things stand now, and for many years to come the Albion won’t compete with the top six clubs on a consistent basis.

But as always it’s the mode of defeat, the Bournemouth and Cardiff defeats were without doubt two of the most inept performances I’ve seen in watching the club over 45 years, and given I’ve seen a few, that’s saying something.

Tony Bloom is not only a successful multi-millionaire businessman, but also a realist.

In the space of those four days last month, were the alarm bells ringing loud and clear?

Even before the kick-off on Sunday I received a text from a very well informed football figure who stated that City would be Chris Hughton’s last game and Swansea’s Graham Potter was the preferred choice.

A bit like the man who turned the Beatles down I was dismissive, joking that wouldn’t we be better off with Harry Potter?

So needless to say I was initially shocked on Monday when the news broke. Tony Bloom’s official statement made a lot of sense, three wins in 23 games tells a story in itself.

Don’t get me wrong, Chris Hughton remains an Albion legend, and in my opinion with his overall record, including promotion to the top flight, puts him up as arguably the greatest manager in the club’s history.

Ultimately all good things come to an end. A few weeks ago we were discussing the future and said ironically if the Albion went down he certainly wouldn’t get sacked given his record in the Championship, but as it transpired and the Albion survived, he could have become the first managerial casualty of the close season.

For what’s it worth, I thought the change would come with his assistant Paul Trollope leaving and a more offensive and attacking coach replacing him. Clearly not, so the king is dead, long live the king.

Graham Potter looks like he has potential, obviously untried in the top flight, but a different approach to his potential successor, which could certainly excite the faithful, given what we have been served up recently. So it remains to be seen if he will choose to stay at Swansea or start a new revolution at the Amex.

Recruitment is key, clearly Hughton was let down by others within the club on that front, and Potter or whoever takes the job has to throw out the deadwood, including at least one or maybe even two of last summer’s big money signings.

As for Chris Hughton, while it lasted, it was a great, as with the likes of Thatcher and Ali, everyone has their time, and the secret is to go out at the right time.

Thanks Chris, for everything you did, you will not be forgotten.